The Count of Monte Cristo is an historic-adventure novel written by French author, Alexandre Dumas in 1844. Set in France, Italy and the Mediterranean islands, the story commences in the year 1815, centred on Edmond Dantes, a 19 year old sea merchant. He is leading a life of bliss, accented by his appointment as successor to his captain, Leclere, and his impending marriage to his fiancé, Mercédès.
Dantes good fortune arouses the jealousy of some of his supposed friends, who devise a plot to frame him for treason. Incidentally, Dantes has been asked to deliver a letter to Bonapartian sympathisers. Though Dantes who himself has no political leanings, is arrested on his wedding day, with the letter found on his person. What follows is his condemnation to life in prison (the Chateau d’If, an brutal island fortress off the coast of Marseille) without trial.
After 14 yea. spent in prison, during which he has faithful encounter with an Italian Intellectual Abbé Faria, who teaches him mathematics, chemistry, languages among other subjects, Dantes escapes and sets out exacting calculated revenge on his enemies over a 10 year period.
The Count of Monte Cristo is considered to be one of western civilisation’s finest and most enduring works of literature. At the time of its publication, it was released in serial form. The most apt comparison to it’s reception could be made with the way modern society consumes a intensely popular TV series.
With overarching themes of love, betrayal, resolve and revenge, the novel was said to be most the popular book in Europe at the time, and has remained timeless and widely accessible, having been translated into practically all modern languages, with over 20 film adaptations on record.